Do you use Firefox as your preferred Web browser? Are there features you’d like to see that aren’t built into the core? Then consider add-ons like Firefox extensions to customize your browser. Today I’ll share 30 of my favorite Firefox extensions to give you some ideas to improve your own user experience.
First let me explain how this list was developed.
How the Best Firefox Extensions Were Chosen
Keep in mind that every “best” list is subjective. It is not possible to personally find and test every single extension out there. Therefore, to narrow down the choices I looked at two primary things: popular extensions (based on a combination of top downloads and top ratings) and recently released extensions, based on information from Firefox. The idea was to look at tried and true extensions that already have a lot of user support for good reason, while also looking at newer extensions which haven’t been around long enough to garner that support but which are still worth consideration.
Also, in the name of transparency, know that personal opinions do factor into these kinds of lists. For example, as a content producer who considers intentional ad blocking of ad-supported material to be a form of content theft, I cannot in good conscience choose an ad blocking extension as one of the “best.” That said, readers are always welcome to add their own suggestions in the comment section below.
Here are my top picks for the best Firefox extensions, with five picks in each of six categories.
Browsing and General Use
1. Print Edit — Have you ever tried to print an article from the Web, but the formatting is badly “off” because of ads and other Web formatting issues that don’t translate well into print? Use the Print Edit extension to fix that. Go into print preview mode and click the “Edit” button. Then you can choose which page elements to hide, delete, and keep for printing.
2. Smooth Wheel — If you find the choppiness of usual scrolling annoying when you’re trying to read a long article or blog, Smooth Wheel might make life a little bit easier. It smoothes the scrolling process so you can actually continue reading while you scroll.
3. Text to Voice — This Firefox extension allows you to select text on a Web page and click an icon in your status bar to have the text read aloud to you. The speech is very mechanical and frequently choppy, but for what it is it’s an excellent tool. If you have trouble reading text on a computer screen, this might come in handy to improve your browsing experience.
4. Saved Password Editor — Manually add and edit usernames and passwords in your password manager. Don’t worry if you forget to save a password when asked, or if you have to mass-update passwords because of a security breach. This Firefox extension lets you update or add passwords quickly and easily.
5. Screen Capture Elite — This is one of the best screen capture extensions I’ve come across yet. Have you ever wanted to use the “print screen” function only to find out most of the page’s content gets cut off? That’s because you can only capture the page content “above the fold.” This extension lets you capture an entire Web page easily by right-clicking the Screen Capture Elite option in your browser status bar. It’s an excellent tool for saving articles for later reading or showing screenshots of Web designs.
1. AniWeather — This Firefox extension lets you view your current weather conditions as well as future forecasts from your Firefox status bar. When you mouse over the icons you can view animated weather forecasts. You’ll even get blinking notices when there are special weather statements issued for your area, like severe storm warnings.
2. ReminderFox — This is a neat little extension that lets you schedule in appointments or tasks on a to-do list and get pop up alerts and alarms to remind you when the time comes. If you tend to forget things from time to time, let ReminderFox help you keep your schedule straight.
3. ForecastFox Weather — Here’s another weather-related Firefox extension for you. This one pulls its data from AccuWeather.com. You can get the current weather, tomorrow’s weather, an hourly forecast, five day forecast and even radar map of current weather conditions all from your status bar.
4. Google Dictionary and Google Translate — Don’t you hate it when you’re reading an article and you have to leave the site to look up the definition of something the author is talking about? With this plugin you don’t have to. Just double-click on a word you’re un-sure of and a definition will pop up without you having to leave the screen. As a bonus you can also translate text or full pages using Google Translate by right-clicking on the text you want to translate and choosing your translation option.
5. Webmail Notifier — Are you tired of having to remember to login to your email account to check for new messages? If you’ll be browsing the Web anyway, this extension will check your mail for you and alert you when there are new messages waiting. You no longer need to waste time obsessively checking email manually.
1. Turn Off the Lights — If you’re watching Web video and you can’t make it fullscreen, this plugin allows you to dim the surrounding screen so you can focus on your video. In my case the icon didn’t appear in my toolbar automatically, so you might have to customize it and add the button yourself.
2. Book Discovery — Looking for some new books to read? Why not let your browsing history serve as a basis for researching new books? That’s what the Book Discovery extension does for you. Just click the icon in your toolbar that looks like a stack of books and you’ll get a book recommendation list to check out.
3. Puzzle — Bored and need a bit of brain candy while you browse? Just go to any image online, right-click, and choose the puzzle option. You can decide on a puzzle size and how many pieces to cut the image into. Then you can solve the puzzle by putting the image back together again.
4. Fire.fm — Listen to music from Last.fm while you browse with this Firefox extension.
5. Destroy the Web — I’m not at all into first person shooter games, and even I have to admit this Firefox extension is awesome. It turns any Web page you’re on into a shooting game. You score points by obliterating the page — take out ads, headlines, links, lines of text, images, etc. It’s the ultimate time-killer browser-based game. Sometimes simple really is best.
1. Price Trace — This Firefox extension lets you search for products from your status bar or toolbar and immediately get price comparisons.
2. Bargain Book Mole — This little Firefox extension pops up in the upper left hand corner of your screen when you visit the book details page on your favorite bookstore’s website. Click the link and you can compare prices on both new and used copies of the book to make sure you get the best deal.
3. Mobile Barcoder — Find an awesome item online but want to show your friends before buying? If you install the Mobile Barcoder extension you can convert links and text into QR codes you can scan into your mobile phone. Take it with you on the go when you hit the shops or just share the links with friends for their opinions.
4. Dynamite Deals — This is another shopping comparison extension for Firefox. Just visit your favorite retailer online and go to a product page. If Dynamite Deals finds other offers, you’ll see a notification pop up on the right side of your status bar. It couldn’t be easier!
5. Coupon Follow — If a site you visit has active coupon codes available, a list of coupons you might be interested in will pop up when you visit the site if this extension is enabled. For example, visit your favorite domain registrar and get coupon codes to save on your registration (tested with Godaddy).
1. Yoono — While you can use Yoono’s extension to track a variety of social media sites or even instant messengers, I like it for its ability to quickly view my Twitter feeds in the browser sidebar. You can also minimize it when you want the screen real estate back for browsing.
2. ShareThis — Don’t you hate it when you come across an interesting article that you want to share through your favorite social media site, but the publisher doesn’t include any social sharing links? Let your browser bring your own. Just install this extension and click the Share This icon for a drop-down list of social media sites where you can share the current page you’re viewing.
3. Long URL Please — URL shorteners have their place. But when I’m on the consumer side of information I like to know where a link is going before I click it to protect myself and avoid visiting sites I know I have no interest in. While this plugin doesn’t expand every shortened URL because of the ever-growing list of shorteners out there, it does expand a lot of them in Twitter and other social media sites. Avoid “blind clicking” more often with the Long URL Please extension.
4. Social Friend Finder — Ever wonder what other social media sites your friends and followers are using? Install the Social Friend Finder Firefox extension and it can help you find out. Just go to the Social Friend Finder search page from your Tools menu and search for someone to find out if they’re on Facebook, Twitter, Google Profiles, and more.
5. Thumbnail Zoom — Have you ever visited a social media site like Twitter or Facebook and wished you could see your friends’ photos beyond small thumbnails? Install this extension, mouseover the thumbnails in your Twitter feed or other social media site, and you can get a better look at the people you’re communicating with for a change.
SEO and Internet Marketing
1. The WebRank Toolbar — This SEO-centric toolbar lets you check any site’s Google Page Rank, Alexa rank, Compete rank, the number of pages indexed, incoming link counts, and more. Just visit the site you’re interested in and the information displays automatically in your toolbar. If, like me, you prefer to minimize toolbar use you can also access the information through the WebRank icon in your Firefox status bar.
2. FloatNotes — This Firefox extension lets you add sticky notes to any Web page you visit. Personally I love the idea of using these to leave notes on my new blogs that are in development when I see things I want to edit or improve but will need to come back to later.
3. Web2PDF Converter — Let this extension help you quickly and easily convert any Web page into a PDF document — a useful way to archive reports and other market research you do online (such as keyword research results).
4. WordPress Toolbar — If you use WordPress to run blogs for SEO purposes or to promote your business (or even as businesses in their own right), this plugin gives you a horizontal admin menu in WordPress sites so you don’t have to constantly scroll up and down to find what you’re looking for. The little bit of time saved each time can really add up.
5. LinkChecker — If you’re concerned about dead links on your website or blog, the LinkChecker Firefox extension can help you check the validity of all links on any given page. This can be an especially useful tool when reviewing older pages on your site. Just right-click on the page to access the tool or customize your toolbar to add the toolbar icon to make it even easier.
What are your favorite Firefox extensions? What do they do for you that makes them must-have add-ons? Share your favorite extensions and tell us why you love them in the comment section below.